The ins and outs of buying an electronic collar


In previous articles we covered the good, bad, and ugly areas of the electronic collar as well as how to use the electronic collar correctly. Today I will go discuss considerations when buying an electronic collar.

There is no shortage of electronic collars available to purchase. With prices range from $25 to $700, how do you choose the best one for your dog?

All electronic collars are not equal. Reliability, durability, and performance separate them.

I will walk you through the process I use when selecting a collar.

Most important considerations first

At Otter Tail Kennels, we train retrievers, so we are only interested in collars that are waterproof and accommodate bigger dogs. I also prefer rechargeable ones.

Another thing to consider is the distance. You can find collars that work from 100 of yards to over a mile. I know what you’re thinking. “My dog will never be a mile from me so I won’t need to get one of those!” Keep in mind that the advertised distances are with a full battery and in line of sight. Dogs going through sorghum trying to find the ever-elusive rooster are not in line of sight.

Other preferences

I also prefer:

  • a collar with a click level adjustment as oppose to the rheostat dial

  • a collar from a reputable company that has been making them for a while

  • a good warranty

  • a good repair/replacement policy

  • and since I train professionally, I want to be able to have multiple dogs wearing collars at once so I only consider models that are expandable to multiple dogs.

The finalists

Taking all these considerations into mind leaves me with two time-tested collar companies that I recommend. Dogtra and Tri-Tronics/Garmin are in my opinion leaders in the electronic collar world.

Before I go any further, I am not saying other companies’ collars won’t work or are not good. I am simply recommending the ones I personally prefer.

Both Dogtra and Tri-Tronics/Garmin put out high-quality collars designed for hunters and competitors. Their collars are not the cheapest but there are some things I don’t skimp on and this is one of them.

Dogtra makes several collars that have the rheostat dial which, as I mentioned, I am not a big fan. I like to be able to operate my collar, and know what level it is on, without having to look at it each time. Thankfully, they make a few models such as the Combo, Edge, and Edge RT which have the click level adjustment knob.

With the Tri-Tronics/Garmin collars, I suggest any of their pro models. They are designed to be long lasting and have many features.

Where to buy?

There are many places that sell electronic collars, so finding one shouldn’t be a problem. Personally, I have always had great service from Gun Dog Supply ( The owner Steve Snell runs a great business, they ship fast, usually same day and they have decent prices.

Until next time happy retrieving.

Steve Smith